Monday, January 16, 2012

The Season of Goodbyes

While this is the last part of the Memories series, and my last post about creating KS, it won't be the last post on the blog. We'll use it for future news and announcements, and maybe the other 4LS members still have something they want to write about. Either way, thanks for reading.

Here where I live, it's winter right now, darkness, snow and freezing temperatures. I have to stretch my imagination a bit to conjure the spring of Northern Japan into my mind. A chill wind prickles my skin through my shirt. Cherry blossoms, of course those god damn cherry blossoms have to be there too. It's spring, after all. A walkway lined with blossoming trees, people going somewhere. It's the graduation day at Yamaku High School. And I'm there.

The graduating students walk towards the school building for the last time. It looks just as perfect as Mike's illustration above. We go inside, the hall is packed full of people. Dozens of excited conversations, even in hushed whispers, create a veritable cacophony (so happy I could use that word). The tension is palpable. I can see all the faces that are so familiar to me. Hisao, Shizune, Misha and Hanako. Rin and Emi. Lilly and Kenji. The teachers. They're all there.

And maybe we're all there too. The 4LS members, standing somewhere in the back without anyone realizing it. Graduation is a good metaphor for what we've been going through for the past week.

Maybe Shizune would hold the valedictorian's speech, that sounds like something we would do. I've been to quite a few graduations, and I think speeches are the most important part. A good orator can grip the audience and really move them, while a poor one will make the long ceremonies feel like torture. I wonder if Shizune's speech would be good.

Everyone receives their diploma. One by one, they are called to the front. Would Hanako be comfortable with a couple of hundred of eyepairs on her? How would Rin receive her diploma? All kinds of little questions.

The ceremonies are over. People shuffle outside, and all that tension is released in a flood of emotion. Teary eyes, yet happy faces. Hugs and promises to keep in touch are exchanged. The schoolmates you barely knew are your best friends forever today. Some of them you will never see again, some you might by sheer coincidence, years and years later. Still, even in that distant future, this day will connect you to each other. You might feel an emptiness inside, where the part of your life that is now over used to be. That feeling is familiar to me.

Releasing Katawa Shoujo was our graduation day.

Every day of our lives, we stand at the edge of the future and the past. Events like this just make it much clearer. They are milestones too, markers of the sharp turns your life can take. You dress up for the occasion, tie flowers in your clothes, there will be an audience too. You leave something behind. You head for something new. The future is an open road. From here where we stand, you could go anywhere.

The journey of creating Katawa Shoujo was a long one, but now it's over. I'm happy we could make it together. Thank you everyone.

- Aura

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